Inov 8 X-Claw 275

Inov 8 X-Claw 275

I bought these a few months after doing my first Ultra, once I’d signed-up to run the CCC in the Alps. I thought a ‘proper’ pair of trail shoes would be a wise investment. I bought them for the price in a sale and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into or why.

So if it isn’t immediately obvious, I don’t understand the technicalities of trainers never mind the intricacies of trail shoes. Whats good for traction vs comfort, soft ground vs hard ground, long vs shorter distances etc. So I let price an brand reputation dictate and I opted for the X-Claw 275s.

X-Claw 275

As always I went a half-size larger and, on first trying them on I thought I’d made a mistake. They felt quite large in the toe-box and I was worried I’d experience some blistering and rubbing. I stuck with them though and after a few runs in them I was more confident. They are purposely designed to be wider and incorporate a lot of protection in the toe box and upper. I’ve kicked a few stones and rocks in these beasts and come away with very little damage or pain afterwards (thankfully!). They are a tough old pair of shoes that’s for sure. They are not exactly what I’d call a pair of sexy trainers though. The colour scheme is strong and quite painful to look at.

Inov8 Grip
Stud like grip

On the other-hand though they are surprisingly cushioned and quite comfortable to wear also, which surprised me for something so aggressive looking and more comparable to a pair of football boots! The stud grip sole is pretty impressive. Early in the year I did a lot of muddy trail running and compared to my past trail shoes the grip was incredible. I’ve not once slipped or lost my foot-in whilst wearing these and that provides me with great confidence particularly when running down hill or at faster speeds.

All the mud


What I like

  • The traction in mud. Great control which should be expected from a shoe designed for fell running
  • Build quality – great protection, they feel quite heavy and you know you’re wearing something tough

What I didn’t like

  • Tough underfoot on tarmac and roads. Ideally these would be kept for running on the trails/mountains etc and not used (like I have) for also running too the trials!
  • They look heavy, clunky and pretty ugly in my mind.


Probably worth understanding why you need a pair of shoes like this and what you really intend to use them for. Now I’ve a better understanding of what they are designed for, I’ve relegated them to the ‘muddy runs’. They are a solid trainer that is tougher than the ground our feet our pounding. I’ve covered a few 100km in them now but they are without doubt best in the really muddy/rocky conditions where I’ve found I’ve yet to loose my grip/slip in these monsters!